Relaxing Doesn't Make Babies

Preparing For Tomorrow

April 6, 2008 — 12:42 am

I am getting very nervous and emotional about the memorial tomorrow, about a lot of things. I never really thought it would all matter so much, but suddenly it really does matter a whole lot. Everything matters.

Yesterday I realized that I am not handling gatherings of people very well. Having a couple over is fine, I can sit and talk and cry and I feel good when they leave. But groups of people are just too much, apparently. I explained to my mom that with one-on-one conversations I’m half the input and people seem much more aware of where I am emotionally. I’m able to connect with the person and talk about Devin and it’s a positive experience. Being in a gathering of people yesterday just felt very overwhelming. Conversation between other people seemed so meaningless. I just don’t care enough to contribute to group chit-chat, so I sit or stand alone. And it’s not like the conversation was offensive or that anyone was doing anything disrespectful. It’s simply that I am not at a place yet to be able to function like that.

The timing really sucked though, because today I’m sitting there realizing that tomorrow, for the memorial, we have a bunch of people coming over. I started to worry. What if it’s like yesterday? What if people just chit-chat and I feel like I want to scream? I’m suddenly really nervous about it. Den mentioned that his nieces are coming and I’m really unsure about that. They’re only 7 – I love them to death, but tomorrow I’m going to be a mess, almost guaranteed. Are they going to be able to really understand? I don’t want to have to worry about being appropriate for children. I can’t see anything that would be inappropriate, but who knows at this point.

I also feel a little sad that we are having so many people over for this important time and it’s almost entirely Den’s family. I’m glad my mom is here. Like I told my mom, it’s not like I don’t like Den’s family or anything, and it’s not like I expect any of my family to come – it’s just a side-effect of me living here.

Den and I had a disagreement about Devin’s photo and the other things I’m going to have on display. It wasn’t an argument or anything – it was just one of those times were you think you’re on the same page, but realize in a conversation that you aren’t.

I intended to have a table set up with all of Devin’s things and photos and everything. I can’t fully explain why, but I just know that it is supremely important to me that everyone sees them. I want people to see his photo. I want them to know him, to appreciate him. I don’t give a damn if they even say anything to me, I just want them to know what a beautiful boy he was, to realize what a huge loss this is. Everyone here online has read my story, has followed along and understands everything we went through. Family and real-life friends haven’t.

But Den, he is uncomfortable with that sort of thing. His idea for the memorial was to plant a tree and eat food. He doesn’t have this need to talk about Devin like I do, or to share his things. He mentioned concerned about putting it all out “in peoples’ faces.” I know he worries that some people will feel very uncomfortable with looking at Devin’s photo, and he mentioned the fact that kids will be there.

I admit, I am having a hard time feeling concerned about how others might react in this particular instance. The fact that people may feel uncomfortable doesn’t seem to register in my brain as something of importance. In any other case, at any other time, I would be preoccupied with that too. But this weekend I am feeling like an emotional basketcase. It’s my due date. This is Devin’s memorial. People are coming to support us in our grieving process. So yeah, I’m feeling extremely selfish and simply not caring. I’m doing this for me, and I admit that. And besides, I think to myself that this is a memorial, people know it’s a memorial, it is not going to be comfortable. Like Den has told me in the past (when I complained about going to a funeral) that you go to a funeral to show support for the grieving people. Not because it’s something you want to do, they are inherently uncomfortable. (I will never complain about going to a funeral ever again, I get it now. I get how important it is.)

That being said, my husband is grieving too and the last thing I want to do is make him uncomfortable tomorrow. It’s not a bad thing that he wants things different than I do, I am not upset with him about it or anything, that’s simply not his way of grieving and coping and I respect that. He said he’s absolutely fine with me putting out everything I want to, he just prefers it to be in an adjoining room, not right where everyone is going to be sitting. That way we can let people know it’s all there to view if they want to, and if someone really is uncomfortable or upset by it they can just not look. It’s not my first choice, but as long as everything will be out and available, then I’m okay with it. So that’s what we’re going to do.

We’ve told people to come over between 5 and 5:30. We hope to have dinner ready at 6, and the tree planting will be at 7 – specifically at 7 because Devin was born at 6:58.

I created a page on this site, located on the sidebar under Pregnancy as “In Memoriam.” I put Devin’s photo there, along with some other special things.

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers this weekend. I feel like I need them.

22 responses to “Preparing For Tomorrow”

  1. Lyanna says:

    I was looking for an e-card to send to you guys, but they are all so corny that I gave up. Nothing seems to catch what I want to say.

    I wish you two the strength to get through this day in one piece.
    I wish you two the strength to experience the day and keep it in your memories, so that you may look on it later with a good feeling.
    I wish you a beautiful day, with sunshine and love and warmth and comfort, and the feeling that even though Devin is not here with you physically, he is there with you in spirit.

    Thinking of you today
    Love, Wendy

  2. tash says:

    I’ll be thinking of you today. You’re very courageous to do this — I was so antisocial (not even emailing my family, I couldn’t imagine doing chit chat with anyone) that we did not have a memorial. The thought of it drove me under a rock. So I don’t have a lot of advice except to say that the time will come, and it will pass, and you will still be there on the other side. And they’ll all go, and you’ll be free to grieve no matter how much and in what manner you wish. Wishing you great strength and peace, and thinking Devin has a wonderful set of parents to do this.

  3. kim says:

    Devin is beautiful. it looks as if he’s simply sleeping.

    we all grieve differently and i think we all need to respect one anothers grief process. i think it’s cool the you and den can compromise of the memorial stuff. my husband needed all the memorial cards up for a long time. for 8 months actually. we just took them down a month ago. although i was ready to pack them away, i knew it was important to him. and i too was worried about displaying Jorai’s picture. since she was born at 28 weeks, she looks a lot different then Devin. i didn’t want to offend anyone, but i also needed her picture up. after some soul searching, i’m comfortable with displaying her picture. in a way, i don’t care if i offend anyone. in my opinion, if my child was born with a tumor or her face, would i hide her so i wouldn’t offend anyone? she still my daughter, no matter how still she is. and now, i’m proud to display her picture. some people walk by without looking at her, others pick the picture up and tell me how beautiful she is. but for me, i get to look at her daily, and that’s the most important.

    people will understand if you need to excuse yourself today. you lost your son. people understand that. this day is about you and den and Devin. don’t worry about anyone else. this day is just another important step in your grief journey. don’t worry about it, stew over it or try to protect others from your pain. walk into the day knowing it will be hard, that tears will be shed and know that that’s ok. your family will expect it.

    you’re in my thoughts and prayers today.

  4. Jess says:

    *hugs you both*

    I thought today would be hard, which is why I timed the items to be delivered around now.

    You guys are a great team and support for each other. I’m glad you get funerals now, and aren’t letting others concerns or worry affect YOUR grief.

  5. JuliaS says:

    Oh Natalie – hugs.

    Strength and peace for today.

    Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

  6. Delenn says:

    Wishing you strength and healing today. I think it is a wonderful idea to have the memorial and his photo and things on display. I think that while it will be uncomfortable for some people, most people will be fine with whatever you display/do.

    Thinking of you on this day.

  7. Dayna says:

    That Memoriam page is beautiful. I always told you how wonderful you looked while pregnant. You really did just glow the whole time. Then seeing Devin he is just as beautiful. We are all here for you in thoughts. We all really care about you and your family. You will be in our thoughts and prayers for quite awhile. We love you Natalie!

  8. Kris says:

    Thinking of you today.

  9. Kathy says:

    Lots of hugs to you Natalie! Nobody should have to think about the things you are thinking about or make decisions like you are having to make. I think about that when my husband and talk about funeral homes and cemetaries for Molly. I never thought we would be discussing where to bury our daughter.

    I can appreciate you and Den have different takes on where things should be (like Devin’s picture and things). Bob and I have had many discussions about how we might do things after Molly dies and we definately have different ideas and comfort levels. What I have found myself doing is trying to figure out what I think will help me the most to cope and than standing up for those things, if that makes sense. I think as Molly’s mother I have the right to push for things that will help me to honor her and her short life with us.

    A word about your nieces that will be there. From everything I have read about grief and children, in trying to help our 4 year old son with this, it is actually healthy for children to see adults grieve, cry, etc. They learn healthy ways (which includes not hiding our emotions) to deal with death. So I hope you feel you can still let down with them there and not worry about it making them uncomfortable. I really think they will learn compassion and appreciate what you have been through and are going through.

    Also, at times like this, at least I have found, it is an opportunity to help our family and friends, who have not been touched by losing a child through stillbirth or infant death, understand what it is like and how to be caring for those who are going through it. Not that we should have to be poster children for going through these loses, but I sometimes think of myself as someone who can help others become more open and compassionate through sharing my experience.

    Okay, sorry for going on so… Thank you for your comment on my blog in the midst of all you are going through. Your support means a lot to me. Please know that you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. I look foward to hearing about tomorrow, I I know it will be a bittersweet day for you, but also hopefully beautiful and very special when you honor and remember your dear son Devin.

    Take care,
    Kathy

  10. Julia says:

    I am thinking about you today, and will stop to honor Devin and his parents at 7pm.

    My husband can’t handle putting up the picture of A in the house, at least not for now. He says he doesn’t need a picture to remember him, and I know that to be true. The pictures are all stored on my computer, and I look at them often. Our daughter has seen them, and has asked to see them a few times, but the pictures don’t seem to sooth her sadness as much as some other rituals she and we have created.

    I know some people might be uncomfortable, but that really can’t be your concern. Most will be uncomfortable out of ignorance, and they can overcome it by looking at that beautiful picture. The day is yours to grieve in and theirs to support you. If they don’t get that it’s not about them, they are not worth the emotional energy it would cost you to worry about them.

    About your nieces. My daughter is six, as are her classmates. She has told most of them throughout the school year, and I even got to observe some of those interactions. The kids mostly get it, and are mostly very kind. I think your nieces will be fine. If it is something Den is worried about, maybe he can call their parents and tell them to prepare the girls. Something like “Devin was a very important part of our family, and his parents, and all of us are very sad that he died. Today is the day we come together to help them mark and celebrate the love for Devin and the special place he will always hold in our family. There are pictures of Devin on display. Don’t be afraid to look at them– he is a beautiful baby and the pictures are about the love his parents feel for him. Today is a sad day, but it is ok to be sad. Sometimes things happen that are so huge and so bad that they leave people sad for a long-long time. And that’s ok too. Your aunt and uncle still love you. They still laugh and one day they will have another baby to love and raise. But they will never forget Devin or stop loving him, and neither will we.” I hope this helps.

  11. Becky says:

    I’m thinking and praying and sending you love and light today. I can only imagine how hard this is going to be, and I wish I could lessen your burden.

    *hugs*

  12. Mrs.Spit says:

    Holding you in our hearts and in our prayers.

    I think Julia has a great explanation of what to say to your nieces and nephews.

  13. Karen says:

    Hello Natalie… this is Kel’s mom. My thoughts are with you more than usual today, you are right, this is going to be a very difficult day for you, and I am so sorry that you have to go through such pain. Remember that grief is a very personal thing, we each do it in our own way and there is no “right” way or “wrong” way. Just do whatever you need to do to survive the moment.I won’t tell you that things will be all better soon, because they won’t. Things will change and so will you and things will be different and eventually things will be be better.Devin will always hold that piece of your heart, try to keep the good memories of him and your wonderful experience with him close to you, bad memories and anger have a way of swallowing up everything, try not to let that happen OK? Devin was too precious for that to happen. I too wish you a beautiful day with the memories of your beautiful son and your friends and family around to support you.Take care Natalie, love Karen.

  14. Karen B. says:

    I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. Maybe you could put the picture in an openable frame for the people who do want to see him, they can open it up. People who would be bothered can simply not open it.
    I wouldn’t worry about children seeing the picture or being sad for you and Devin. Children handle these things very matter-of-factly and do so much better than most adults.
    I’ll be thinking of you and your family. I hope it all goes well.

  15. Mel says:

    I am thankful that you shared his picture with us. I just went over there to see it. I hope you’re getting through the day. Breathing. Mourning. Getting the support you need.

  16. Rmenda says:

    I really like your memorial page for Devin. Thanks for sharing.

    I will be thinkin of you and Den all day..

  17. Amanda says:

    Been thinking of you all day but will be sure to pause at 6:58-7:00. You’re in our hearts and I know there are many like me who wish we could be there to support you. I hope the evening will be everything you hoped.

  18. loribeth61 says:

    I guess by now people are starting to arrive, so any assvice I would have for you would be moot. ; ) Just wanted to say your plans sound lovely, & I am thinking of you. We had a very small funeral for Katie, just my parents, dh’s dad, stepmom, brother & his wife & two little boys, & the minister. We had everyone back at the house afterward for sandwiches & cake. I didn’t show any of Katie’s things — nobody has seen her photos except for us, my mom & the people in our support group. Sometimes I wish we had invited all our friends & relatives, but at the time, I didn’t think I could handle that. In retrospect, I wonder whether it might have made our loss more real to them.

  19. Raychel says:

    I’ve been thinking of you all day today.

    It is not wrong at all that this memorial is about you, and helping you grieve and celebrate the time you had with your son.

    I’ve always felt that funerals and memorials and all that is not for the ones who have passed, but for the living. We need these things to say goodbye properly.

  20. Michelle says:

    Devin is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing his picture with us all.

    Sending you and Den thoughts of peace.

  21. Joy says:

    He is beautiful. I especially loved the star registry. How wonderful it must be to think about it in an eternal aspect.

    Memorials and funerals are definitely for the living, to remember the deceased. Sorry hubby is being this way—it’s his own way of saying he’s still grieving and hurting. You want to tell the world about Devin and he wants to hold his sweet boy in his heart.

    Please do show pictures of the memorial service if you have any or want to. It would be a wonderful blessing, a sort of “online memorial” to Devin.

  22. laura says:

    thinking of you, devin and den this weekend.